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Kanye West’s ‘Donda’: Everything We Know About New Album

When Kanye announced the release of his long-awaited tenth studio album Donda last week, it wasn’t hard for fans to feel a hint of disbelief. Kanye is known to delay and push projects back ad-infinitum, so hearing any new music seemed like an unlikely occasion. Yet, last Thursday at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Kanye premiered what appears to be his new album, complete with features from Lil Baby, Pusha T, Don Toliver, and more. But instead of a straightforward release that Friday, last-minute changes appear to have delayed the final product. 

Over the weekend, reports popped up suggesting that Ye was in fact camping out at Mercedes Benz Stadium finishing the album. The rapper, clad in his all-red outfit from Thursday night, was spotted at a Major League Soccer game at the stadium on Saturday. A representative for Mercedes Benz Stadium confirmed that West was indeed staying at the arena until he finished the album. 

With so much uncertainty surrounding Donda, here’s everything we know so far. 

Release Date:

Ahead of the party in Atlanta, Kanye shared a promotional video on Instagram featuring the track star Sha’Carri Richardson, and a new single titled “No Child Left Behind.” Donda was initially believed to be scheduled for a July 23rd release to immediately follow Thursday night’s listening event. Rolling Stone has confirmed reports that the new release date is set to be August 6th.

Features:

Based on what we heard during the live-streamed listening event, Donda features an impressive slate of rappers and collaborators. Lil Baby, Playboi Carti, Baby Keem, Don Toliver, Pusha T, Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Roddy Ricch, Lil Durk,  and more.  

Themes:

The album includes several references to Kanye’s impending divorce from Kim Kardashian, with whom he’s been married for the past 7 years and has 4 children. On one song, reportedly titled  “Welcome to My Life,” Kanye raps: “Tell the assassins I escaped from Calabasas.” Elsewhere on the album, Kanye can be heard emotionally singing “I’m losing my family,” and another song features what sounds like West’s daughter, North, pleading with him to stay home. Though, while many fans have interpreted Donda as a direct response to Kanye’s divorce, the album also fits in line with his 2019 record Jesus is King in its continued religious influence. The lead single “No Child Left Behind,” features the chorus: “He’s done miracles on me,” and throughout the listening event, Kanye broke out into prayer. 

Nike and Apple Music:

Many fans noticed that Kanye’s new album rollout appears to include Nike, a company Kanye famously ended ties with before moving his influential Yeezy brand to Adidas. The promotional video for the album features Nike athlete Sha’Carri Richardson, and in one of Kanye’s Instagram posts, he shares a picture of his outfit, including Nike socks. Another potentially new partnership is Apple, which live-streamed Kanye’s listening event in Atlanta, and which also makes Beats, the advertising partner for Kanye’s promotional video, which is essentially a Beats ad.

Watch The Throne Part II

One of the most talked-about moments from the listening event was at the end when Ye premiered a new collaboration with Jay-Z. In a verse where he both checks Kanye’s past political antics and teases a future Watch The Throne album, Jay offered the night its singular highlight. It also offers a look into Donda’s recording process. Jay reportedly offered his verse the same afternoon as the listening party. At the same stadium where Kanye is right now, hopefully finishing the album.

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